Ann Inc., American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) and Express (EXPR) reported better-than-expected third-quarter profits Wednesday and cited strong early holiday sales, sending the apparel retailers' shares soaring.
The reports followed industry estimates that sales over Black Friday weekend were relatively strong as less-cautious shoppers opened their wallets.
American Eagle Outfitters' earnings soared 59% to 43 cents a share, beating forecasts by 4 cents. The young adult clothier's revenue rose 11% to $910.4 million, as sales at stores open at least a year climbed 10%. Gross profit margin expanded to 41.6% from 38.1% The company sees full-year EPS of $1.38 to $1.40 vs. its old target of $1.33 to $1.36. Wall Street projects $1.37.
American Eagle shares rose 7% for the day, to 20.77.
Ann (ANN), formerly Ann Taylor, reported EPS rose 25% to 76 cents, a penny above consensus. Revenue grew 8.6% to $612.6 million on strong sales at its Ann Taylor and Loft chains. Analysts expected $606.1 million. During Q3, Ann launched a multichannel marketing initiative to boost e-commerce.
Ann shares shot up 8% to 35.10.
Express earnings per share of 17 cents beat analyst projections by 3 cents, although that was less than half the year-earlier 41-cent profit gain.
The operator of more than 600 men's and women's apparel and accessories stores had sales of $468.5 million, in line with views and 4% below a year earlier.
Express expects Q3 EPS of 62 cents to 68 cents, easily topping consensus for 56 cents.
Shares leapt as much as 18% intraday, ending 9% higher at 14.15.
PVH (PVH), maker of Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein brand clothing, rose nearly 7%, a day after reporting a better-than-expected 24% EPS gain.
Not every apparel maker and retailer was decked out though.
Men's clothing chain Joseph A. Bank (JOSB) badly missed profit views, citing promotion costs and Superstorm Sandy. Shares slid 7% Wednesday.
Many major retailers, including Gap (GPS) and Macy's (NYSE:M), report November sales Thursday.